In Arizona, a Class 3 felony is the third-most severe type of criminal offense. A conviction for this class of crime often comes with between 2 years and 8 years and 9 months in state prison. The specific type of crime, as well as aggravating factors and the defendant’s criminal background, can increase the prison sentence to 25 years.
1. What is a Class 3 felony in Arizona?
In Arizona, a Class 3 felony is a classification for certain types of criminal offenses.
Like many states, Arizona has 3 categories of crimes, based on their severity:
- misdemeanors, and
- petty offenses.
Felonies are further divided into 6 classes, based on the severity of the crime:
- Class 1 felonies, which are the most severe offenses, like second-degree murder,
- Class 2 felonies,
- Class 3 felonies,
- Class 4 felonies,
- Class 5 felonies, and
- Class 6 felonies, which are the least severe.
Each class of felony has its own set of penalties, which are designed to reflect the severity of the offense. For example, first-degree murder is a Class 1 felony that can be punishable with the death penalty. Theft of property valued between $1,000 and $2,000 is a Class 6 felony, punishable with 6 to 18 months in prison.
Class 3 felonies can be either:
- dangerous offenses, or
A dangerous offense is one that involves:
- using, threatening someone with, or discharging a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or
- knowingly causing a serious physical injury.
If a Class 3 felony is a dangerous offense, the potential prison sentence increases.
When a Class 3 felony is committed on someone under the age of 15, Arizona law treats it as a dangerous crime against a child and increases the potential prison sentence, as well.
2. What are some examples of this type of crime?
There are numerous criminal offenses that are Class 3 felonies.
Examples of dangerous crimes that are Class 3 felonies can include:
- aggravated assault,
- aggravated robbery,
- attempting to commit a Class 2 felony, like sexual assault,
- discharging a firearm at a nonresidential building, and
Examples of non-dangerous Class 3 felonies can include:
- second-degree burglary,
- theft of property valued between $4,000 and $25,000,
- second-degree money laundering, and
- cultivation of 4 or more pounds of marijuana.
3. What is the sentencing range?
A conviction for a Class 3 felony can carry up to $150,000 in court costs and additional fines, as well as a range of prison sentences.
The potential prison sentence will depend on:
- whether the victim was under 15, making the offense a dangerous crime against a child,
- whether the conviction was for a dangerous or a non-dangerous crime, and
- the defendant’s criminal history, including whether the conviction involved a repetitive offense.
There are 5 possible prison sentences for most Class 3 felonies. From longest to shortest, this sentencing range includes the:
- aggravated term,
- presumptive term,
- minimum, and
- mitigated sentence.
Which prison term is used will depend on any mitigating or aggravating circumstances present during the offense.
Arizona law requires courts to consider certain mitigating factors when sentencing a defendant convicted of a Class 3 felony. These include:
- the defendant’s background or personal character,
- the defendant’s age,
- the defendant’s ability to fully understand the wrongfulness of their actions, and
- whether the defendant was under substantial and unusual duress when they committed the crime.
The law also requires courts to consider a handful of aggravating factors during sentencing. These include:
- the use of an accomplice,
- the age or disability of the victim,
- the infliction or the threat of infliction of a serious physical injury,
- whether the defendant used body armor or a deadly weapon during the offense, and
- the value of any property taken by the defendant.
The presence of mitigating and aggravating factors can drastically reduce or increase the length of the potential prison sentence. An effective criminal defense lawyer can help at this stage of the sentencing. If multiple mitigating or aggravating factors are proven in court, then the final sentence can be shorter or longer than the minimum or maximum term. See our Arizona felony sentencing chart.
3.1 Non-dangerous Class 3 felonies
The sentencing range for non-dangerous felonies is the lowest for Class 3 offenses.
For defendants who do not have a previous conviction for a felony on their criminal history, the sentencing range is:
|Mitigated sentence||Minimum sentence||Presumptive sentence||Maximum sentence||Aggravated sentence|
|2 years||2 years and 6 months||3 years and 6 months||7 years||8 years and 9 months|
If the defendant was over 18 years old, tried as an adult, and was convicted in the same case for multiple Class 3 felony offenses, then he or she will be treated as a repetitive offender for sentencing. Each felony conviction will count as a prior offense, even though the other convictions happened at the same time. As a result, the criminal charges will lead to higher potential prison terms:
|First offense||2 years||2 years and 6 months||3 years and 6 months||7 years||8 years and 9 months|
|Second offense||2 years||2 years and 6 months||3 years and 6 months||7 years||8 years and 9 months|
|Third and subsequent offenses||3 years and 3 months||4 years and 6 months||6 years and 6 months||13 years||16 years and 3 months|
Finally, there is a separate sentencing range for defendants convicted of a Class 3 felony and who have a historical prior felony conviction.
Common historical prior felony convictions are:
- Class 2 or 3 felonies that happened in the last 10 years,
- Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies that happened in the last 5 years,
- dangerous offenses,
- dangerous crimes against children,
- aggravated driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, and
- crimes that carry a mandatory prison sentence.
The sentencing range for these defendants will be:
|Number of historical prior felony convictions||Mitigated||Minimum||Presumptive||Maximum||Aggravated|
|0||2 years||2 years and 6 months||3 years and 6 months||7 years||8 years and 9 months|
|1||3 years and 3 months||4 years and 6 months||6 years and 6 months||13 years||16 years and 3 months|
|2 or more||7 years and 6 months||10 years||11 years and 3 months||20 years||25 years|
3.2 Dangerous offenses
If the Class 3 felony conviction was for a dangerous offense, then the defendant’s criminal record will determine the sentencing range, which does not include a mitigated term or an aggravated sentence:
|Prior convictions for a Class 1, 2, or 3 dangerous offense||Minimum||Presumptive||Maximum|
|0||5 years||7 years and 6 months||15 years|
|1||10 years||11 years and 3 months||20 years|
|2 or more||15 years||20 years||25 years|
If the sentencing is for multiple Class 3 felonies, then the defendant will be considered a repetitive offender. Each subsequent conviction will carry longer prison sentences:
|1st conviction||5 years||7 years and 6 months||15 years|
|2nd conviction||7 years and 6 months||15 years||18 years and 9 months|
|3rd and subsequent convictions||11 years and 3 months||20 years||25 years|
Unlike for non-dangerous offenses, dangerous crimes carry mandatory prison time. Inmates for dangerous crimes are also generally not eligible for:
- suspended sentences, or
- other forms of release from confinement.
3.3 Dangerous crimes against children
When the victim of a Class 3 felony was under 15 years old, the crime will be treated as a dangerous crime against a child.
These offenses come with their own sentencing ranges.
For example, aggravated assault is often a Class 3 felony that comes with the following prison sentence range for first-time offenders:
|5 years||7 years and 6 months||15 years|
If the victim was under 15, though, the offense becomes a dangerous crime against a child. The same defendant would face the following sentencing range, instead:
|10 years||17 years||24 years|
4. How are Arizona felonies different from misdemeanors?
Under Arizona’s criminal law, felonies are different from misdemeanors because they prohibit more severe types of conduct and carry higher penalties.
Felonies tend to involve:
- serious injuries or death,
- non-consensual sex,
- victims who are children or otherwise vulnerable, and
- the use of dangerous weapons.
As a result, felonies carry more than a year of prison time. Misdemeanor convictions carry less than a year.
Petty offenses are the least severe type of criminal offense. Convictions do not carry any jail time, at all.
5. What is the criminal statute of limitations for these crimes?
The statute of limitations to file Class 3 felonies in Arizona is 7 years.
This means that prosecutors only have 7 years after the incident to file felony charges. If they do not bring charges in this time frame, a criminal defense attorney can raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. If successful, the charges will be dismissed.
However, if the offense is a severe criminal case, then there is no statute of limitations and prosecutors can file charges at any point in the future. An example of a severe criminal case that is a Class 3 felony is the sexual abuse of a minor under 15.
 Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-601(A).
 ARS 13-1802(G).
 ARS 13-105(12)-(13).
 ARS 13-801.
 ARS 13-701(E).
 ARS 13-701(D).
 ARS 13-702.
 ARS 13-703.
 ARS 13-105(22).
 ARS 13-703.
 ARS 13-704(A)-(E).
 ARS 13-704(F).
 ARS 13-704(G).
 ARS 13-705(Q)(1).
 ARS 13-705(D).
 ARS 13-107(B)(1).
 ARS 13-107(A).